States such as New Jersey, California, and Florida are considering legislation that would permit online gambling within their states -- and which would also put them in a position for being a center of interstate gambling as well, should it be legalized on a federal level. "[D]ifferent players [are] attempting to use the political process as essentially a land grab – to position the legislation to give them either a monopoly or special position if intrastate wagering should become legal," noted Anthony Cabot, partner and gaming group leader at Lewis & Roca, in his blog.
In addition, with many states in dire financial straits, a piece of the estimated $48 billion that legalized online gambling could make for the U.S. is tempting. Other states, such as Florida, are concerned that without legalization, citizens will be taken advantage of by unscrupulous operators.
However, some say that gambling within a state -- even one as large as California -- isn't likely to attract enough people to make it viable to offer as many games and as big tournaments as offshore sites such as PokerStars and Full Tilt, where most U.S. online poker users currently play, unless such sites are shut down at the same time.
Meanwhile, companies interested in getting involved in Internet gambling are spending big money lobbying for it. "For the third quarter of 2009, internet gambling lobbying spend came in at approximately $3.65m, up 50 percent over the same period in 2008," said Chris Krafcik. Harrah’s, which he estimated spent $6,000 lobbying egaming in Q3 2008, spent approximately $875,972 in Q3 2009, while UC Group increased lobbying outlay to $727,424 during Q3 2009, up 20 percent over Q3 2008, he said.